As an elementary school counselor, I am continually amazed at the number of students who do not know how to give and receive a compliment. Students seem to have no trouble, however, with the occasional teasing or name-calling.
To remedy this, I will often play “Compliment Tag” within my classrooms. This is a fun activity that requires no materials or supplies, and it is best carried out in small groups of four to six students.
Students sit in a circle and decide on one person to be “it” first. This student has to tag another person in the group. However, unlike a typical game of tag where you run and use your hands, this game requires you to tag a person with your words. The student who is “it” will say another student’s name in the group, give her a compliment, and then say, “Tag you’re it.” The person who gets tagged responds by saying, “Thank you,” and the person who gave the compliment responds with, “You’re welcome.” The person tagged then picks someone else and so on until everyone has had a chance to give and receive a compliment.
After the game of tag, it is always a good idea to have some discussion questions for the class to consider. Was it easy to give someone a compliment? Do you think it is possible to practice giving compliments on your own? How did it feel inside when you had a compliment given to you? How many compliments do you think you could give each day?
It is amazing to see students’ faces light up when they get tagged by one of their classmates. It is even more amazing to see the students playing this game outside of class on their own. One student reported to me, “Compliments are like my favorite soda; I just have to have one every day!”
Dave Warner, MSE
Elementary School Counselor
Fair Oaks and Oak View Elementary
Maple Grove, Minnesota
Everyone has a bad day every now and then. The early grades activity Happy Faces encourages students to be sensitive to schoolmates who might be feeling down. It shows them how to bring cheer to others.